Does wearing a hat keep you warm if you’re dancing naked?
That’s the question University of Michigan professor Andrew Maynard answered in a YouTube video posted on the school’s Risk Science Center account. The video explains that the widely held assumption that 70 percent of a person’s body heat escapes through the head is just a myth, which started when a military manual gave the cap too much credit. It’s not essential to wear a hat when it’s cold, Maynard argues.
“You look at the scientific literature and you realize that it’s just not true,” Maynard told WJBK. “You lose as much heat through your head as you do through any other exposed part of your body.”
Maynard admits he has told his own family members to wear a hat outside, and he says doing so does help you keep cozy in the cold.
The point he makes in the video is simply that you should not expect a hat by itself to do the majority of the work to keep your body warm. He also notes that if you wear thermal underwear, it’s even more important to wear a hat, because the head is then the only point where heat can escape.
You need not wear a hat in the winter just because you’re bald either, Maynard says. It’s yet another myth that bald people are at a disadvantage because hair can keep the body warm.
“Actually, it doesn’t do that much,” Maynard said. “You’d need a heck of a lot of hair to keep all that heat in.”